Flaring, echoing star is a beautiful mystery for astronomers
V838 Monocerotis keeps flaring in brightness, probably a result of 'light echo.'
NASA has released a series of images showing the envelope of dust and gas around a recently discovered star. The star, V838 Monocerotis, was previously unknown until it flared in brightness and shone through a cloud in space.
Despite its flare in brightness, it has always remained just outside of naked-eye brightness, requiring a telescope to see. However, the Hubble Space Telescope has been able to image the star with great clarity and has regularly done so since 2002.
Scientists have detected several flares from the star, and have long baffled at what could be causing them, since the pattern of flaring is inconsistent with a nova, which is a typical pattern of death for most stars. During a nova, the outer layers of gas belonging to a star are cast off into space forming a surrounding shell of outward moving dust and gas.
What astronomers now suspect is that light is reflecting, or echoing off dust and gas previously shed by the star in earlier eruptions, or the dust off which the light is reflecting could be the parent material from which the star formed. Scientists are unsure as to which.
Astronomers have offered several theories, including the possibility that the star has swallowed its planets, to explain the sudden flares in brightness.
Although scientists remain mystified by what is actually happening, further research should reveal what is actually going on. The Hubble Space telescope as well as several ground based scopes, are able to view the star quite clearly across different wavelengths. The star is close enough for very detailed observations, only 20,000 light years away.
Further observations will unravel the mystery.
In the meantime, the images produced by the Hubble Space Telescope make for interesting viewing.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- NSA is piggybacking off private web tracking to ID and watch you, find targets
- IT'S TRUE: Americans have no right to privacy when they give information to a third party -- such as cell phone provider
- Evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars discovered
- Mars One may stage ultimate anti-reality show where particpants vie to be voted OFF the planet to their demise
- NASA releases images of mysterious hexagon on Saturn
- Stanford researchers develop a way to literally read minds
- Report reveals FBI can remotely scan your computer without your knowledge
- Ultra-secret, Area-51 spy plane finally revealed to the public
- Micro-spacecraft plans to land on moon in 2015
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?